According to the SIIA 2014 Vision K-20 Survey Report, almost 60% of schools and districts do not feel “highly prepared” with adequate bandwidth or with adequate devices and hardware to begin implementation of the required online Common Core testing in the spring of the upcoming school year. Based on these survey results, it is clear that bandwidth is not keeping up with demand in K-12 schools and districts.
Adequate bandwidth, along with online access and wireless wifi, is one of the most important preconditions to bring applications such as virtual classes, web-hosted, multimedia-rich content, and interactive software into the classroom. It continues to give educational providers the incentive to develop technology-rich curriculum materials and online courses that can be delivered via the Internet.
While expectations of districts conducting successful online assessments are increasing, it is clear that adequate K-12 access to technology is not limited to broadband. Other technology needs such as hardware, digital curriculum, learning management systems, student data management, and e-portfolios are also impacted.
The survey reports that K-12 educators have a significant desire to integrate technology at a much higher level than they currently have. This goal continues to evolve as expectations about adequate technology continue to increase. But the report clearly states that educators need support and assistance to increase their technology integrations.
Indications for market expansion are also supported in survey statements such as, “As technology evolves and technology solutions expand, there may be new opportunities to reach ideal goals with more cost-effective and less hardware-dependent solutions.”
With less than 40% of schools and districts prepared to implement online testing for all students, and adequate funding a driving concern for all districts, it is unlikely that all schools will be ready to deliver simultaneous online testing next spring. How this lack of preparedness will be handled by states and districts remains to be seen. There are already a number of states considering delayed implementation of this part of the Common Core requirements.
Status of BYOD Implementations
The survey reports that the number of secondary educators who are currently using BYOD in their schools or plan to within the next year, increased from 60% in 2013 to 66% in 2014. This is a faster rate of implementation than with elementary educators (31%) and K-12 Districts (59%) whose groups remained static this year. These same K-12 educators predict an increase over the next five years to 85% use by secondary educators, 66% in elementary and 83% of K-12 district participants.
“Mobile devices are used most frequently to access online digital content. Secondary reasons are to create content, develop skills, and communicate and collaborate.”
Many schools and districts are creating BYOD initiatives to increase their adoption and use of technology. This year’s status of BYOD initiatives can be seen in the slide below. Note the differences in devices used at the elementary and secondary level.
For educational marketers, these findings from the SIIA 2014 Vision K-20 Survey Report, are indications of additional opportunities in the K-12 technology sector for any products that support teachers and administrators in integrating technology across the curriculum in pursuit of 21st century learning.
One of the criticisms of technology integration is that it emphasizes the technology at the expense of student learning. Clearly understanding the challenges that teachers and administrators face and designing solutions to meet those challenges with affordable and efficient products and services is the most direct path to taking advantage of these market opportunities.